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LOT 128 - FAS0624

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Lot details

Published: Filippo Salviati, 4000 Years of Chinese Archaic Jades, 2017, pp. 80-81, no. 87.

Of elongated form with tapering side, the axe with a lens-shaped cross section, and a central aperture to the top which has been drilled from both sides. The translucent stone with inclusions of mustard, brown, and dark chocolate, as well as russet veins.

Provenance: Private collection of Prof. C. Eberhard Klein, Germany.
Condition: Excellent condition with minor wear and natural imperfections. Minor erosion and shallow surface wear.

Weight: 277.2 g
Dimensions: Height 17 cm

The Dawenkou culture (c.4500-2500 BC) is one of the early societies that made use of jade during the late Neolithic period and transition to the Bronze Age, with sites mostly distributed in the Shandong province. The jades found in these sites are mostly derived from types developed by the two neighboring and major jade-using cultures, Hongshan in the north and Liangzhu in the south. Particularly favored were jade axes, which are more elongated than the Liangzhu ones, and often chisel shaped, like the present lot.

Because jade was so costly, it is unlikely this was a utilitarian tool. Its use was probably more symbolic or ritual. The thin, sharp blade shows no sign of wear. The presence of such jade objects indicates a high level of skill in fine crafts. Due to its hardness, jade cannot be carved with metal blades but must be ground with abrasive sand in a slow, labor-intensive process.

Literature comparison:
Compare a closely related axe discovered at a Neolithic tomb at Dawenkou, published in Shanghai: Shanghai jiaoyu chubanshe, 1989, pg. 5 of illustrations.


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